Vägen till parnassen: En sociologisk studie av kvinnligt konstnärskap i Sverige 1864-1939 : The Path to Parnassus: A sociological study offemaie artists in Sweden, 1864-1939

Sammanfattning: This thesis clarifies how female artistry in Sweden is constructed, ptimarily with the help of Pierre Bourdieu' s key concepts (habitus)(capital )+field=practice, and chiefly through three institutions: art collecting, art history writing, and art criticism. The period covered is 1864-1939 with a background trom the early 1800s and a view forward to the year 2000. Central questions are who has power to define what art is and who an artist is, where the female artists stand in this process of canonisationfconsecration, and which conditions govern entrance to the art field. The concepts are tested by analysis of longer time intervals and shorter inquiries into the empirical material of catalogues, reference works and journals, as weil as of autobiographies and novels. The thesis seeks and identities central agents such as the Academy of Fine Arts, museums and collectors, associations of artists and groups of promoters. According to Bourdieu, there is a continuous striving to limit the field. By constructing different canons, the thesis concretises the agents' limiting activities, mainly in terms of a canon for contemporary consecration of female artists in museums and collections, and another for consecration through reference works on Swedish art history. Some feminist art scholars have maintained that female artists were excludedferased ITom canons at the same time as art history was established as an independent discipline. This is contradicted in the case ofSweden with support by canons for reference works. Women's artistic pursuits are an important concern not only for the art field. Especially at the beginning of the study, they are found to be intimately connected with political strivings for women's economic independence and emancipation. Women do not seem to have the same possibilities as men for influencing the consecration process; for example, women were incorporated late among the art historians who decide which artists are to be passed onward in canons through reterence works. Yet the art field is governed by the same conditions for female artists as for male ones, even though not as many women as men reach Parnassus - among other things, women are fewer trom the outset and still fewer take part in the art-political groupings that prov ide a path to success. Moreover, despite the art field's relative autonomy with its own rules for consecration, externaI society imposes different demands on men's and women's pursuits. The field's conditions for artistic activity are subordinated to social nonns and limits as a whole.

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